Monday, January 26, 2009

Fighting the good fight

Thank you so much to all of the people of good will who turned out on Saturday, and thank you to everyone who prayed for us. 30,000 men, women, and children of all ages came to express their faith, their devotion to life, and their determination to fight the evils of abortion no matter how steep the uphill climb may be.

(Your humble author is in the third row, second from the right. Also visible are my brother Sacramento seminarians Eric Flores, Michael Estaris, Antonio "Ace" Racela, and Michael Ritter)

It's difficult to overstate just how much the local San Francisco media dislikes us and the pro-life cause (30,000 people is some kind of pony show! Good grief.) This was my first time on the Walk for Life, and I'm told the opposition's numbers were almost equal to our own the first year. This year I estimate about one to two hundred counter-protesters showed up, including two of the infamous Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (try explaining them to someone new to this country.) Most of the counter-protesters congregated at the end of Fisherman's Wharf and they tried to shout us down, but we responded with a rousing chorus of "Ave Maria."

Many thanks to the SFPD for ensuring everything went smoothly. And thank you to all of the wonderful guest speakers, and Auxiliary Bishop Bill Justice of San Francisco for leading us in the opening prayer. There's one wonderful story in particular I remember well. The speaker, Raquel, was sharing a hospital elevator with another woman who was in tears. Raquel asked what was wrong and the woman said she was pregnant. Raquel was pregnant at the time as well, and she offered her congratulations. But the woman tearfully replied that she was probably going to have an abortion. Raquel took the woman by the shoulders and said to her, "No, you are not. You are going to have your baby, and it's going to be a girl. I wanted a girl at first, but my child is going to be a boy. You're going to name her Jasmine - that's my middle name - and you're going to dress her up all pretty in pink with bows in her hair." The elevator stopped and the woman got out. Several years later, Raquel ran into that same woman who was pushing a baby stroller. It turns out she had twin girls and named them Raquel and Jasmine.

It's a sad commentary on our culture that the bare minimum of natural law - do not kill the innocent - is now considered "theocratic." But protecting the innocent from being killed is part of the very essence of government. Any government which actively pursues or passively allows the killing of the innocent negates its own essence, its own reason for being. All Catholics are morally bound in conscience to object to legalized abortion:

Laws which authorize and promote abortion and euthanasia are therefore radically opposed not only to the good of the individual but also to the common good; as such they are completely lacking in authentic juridical validity. Disregard for the right to life, precisely because it leads to the killing of the person whom society exists to serve, is what most directly conflicts with the possibility of achieving the common good. Consequently, a civil law authorizing abortion or euthanasia ceases by that very fact to be a true, morally binding civil law.

...Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection.

There are many different ways of opposing the pro-abortion legal regime, but whether to oppose it or not is a settled issue, and all of us have a duty to oppose it by whatever moral means are at our disposal in our particular states of life. We future priests especially need to lead by example.

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